It has been a difficult time for care funding. The government has made cuts, partly by way of reductions in local government grants. However, many care providers contract almost exclusively with local authorities meaning they have no opportunity to negotiate their fees and very limited additional or alternative sources of income.
At the same time wage costs have increased with the introduction of the National Living Wage. Whilst no one doubts that the great job care staff carry out deserves reward, it's proving increasing difficult for providers to absorb this additional burden.
To add a further sting, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has confirmed that it will increase the fees it charges providers this April. Further with increases are planned over the next five years until the CQC is entirely provider-funded.
The sector does seem to be edging towards breaking point. Might it be time for a collaborative government and sector rethink of how care services will develop in the years ahead?
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Government policy requires CQC to increase the fees it has to charge registered providers, so that it can move towards fully recovering the chargeable costs of regulating health and adult social care in England.